What is Service Learning?


Service Learning is a pedagogical model that provides students with the opportunity to earn academic credit by actively participating in and learning from scholarly activities undertaken to serve community needs.”
– Plymouth State University Service Learning Task Force, Spring 2011.

Service Learning Photo 7

What do students say about engaging
in the community?

Stories from the Pemi Youth Center:

The Pemi Youth Center has sincerely been my second home.  Even when I am home for the summer, I make sure I make trips back up to Plymouth to help out with the local races and to see the kids who help volunteer or even run.  It’s great to cheer them on.  Working at the Youth Center made me a better person and I could not be happier.  There are so many opportunities to grow as a person when working with children and it never hurts to see a kid smile when you walk into the room.”  

-Nichole Adamo, PSU Graduate 2013

 “I haven’t been at the youth center for that long, but I instantly felt welcomed and that I was doing something that really matters. I may have an inconsistent social group, but one thing that will remain constant during my upcoming years at Plymouth State University, will be the youth center. Being there really is the highlight of my week. School can be beyond stressful, but when I walk into the Pemi Youth Center it feels as if my stress and my problems go away for a few hours. I realize how sappy I sound, but the PYC is a second home for me. During the summer months I kept wondering what the kids and staff were up to, and hated that I couldn’t be there due to the two hour drive to get there. While working with the kids there and seeing how their lives are so much different from mine, everything gets put into perspective. It’s hard seeing where they come from and what they deal with on a regular basis, even more so since they are all great kids, no matter their background. I think that everyone should be in an environment such as the youth center at least once in their lifetime, because you walk in the door as one person but you walk out a new one. I for example started off shy and reserved, but after being there for a few months, I feel comfortable laughing, playing around and have the confidence to help the kids; especially on their homework, which is much harder than I remember.”

-Rachel Grzejka, PSU Graduate 2015

 “The Pemi Youth Center has not only positively affected my experience here at Plymouth State, but it has also contributed to the person I am today. Throughout my four years attending this university I have had many fantastic experiences, but none as great as working at the Pemi Youth Center. I have made amazing friendships with fellow staff members, as well as great connections with the outstanding kids that attend the youth center. The memories I have created at this amazing establishment will truly last me a lifetime. It all started as a few community service hours I needed for a class, but after my first day, the kids here had my heart. Now it is three and half years later and I have not looked back once, and I now consider the people I have met here to be a second family. Spending every day with them; doing homework, recreational activities, cooking, mentoring, field trips, and so much more, made me a better person.”

-Helen Wells, PSU Graduate 2013

     “Education, creating friendships, building trust, and making memories is the foundation in which I feel the youth center is based upon. Working at the youth center has aided me in my journey in both, mental and emotional maturity.”

-Kendra Makos, PSU Graduate 2015

Service Learning Photo 3

“When I think back to the time I spent in Plymouth, the Pemi Youth Center is one of the first things that pops into my head. I volunteered at the Pemi Youth Center from Spring 2007-May 2009. I looked forward to working with the youth in the community and being a positive role model in their lives. The PYC was a place I always felt welcome and I enjoyed spending time there. My time spent at the PYC allowed me to see how important it is to support your local community and how it’s the little things that make a big impact. The PYC is a place that helped mold who I am today and I always make sure to visit whenever I am in town.”

-Ally Lamy, PSU Graduate 2009

Stories about field work:

 “This type of experience delves into real life learning, something many students may not have experienced in school-like settings, something that cannot be experienced in a classroom setting. Working with experts in their field, building contacts with these same people and individuals that could possibly play a crucial role in finding careers in the future.”  

-K. Bourguin, PSU Student

“To catch the salmon for data collection we were taught how to use a method of electro-shock fishing. Not only was I able to catch and net the fish but I was trained on how to use the Electro-shock backpack devise. This field experience has greatly increased my knowledge on Electro-shock Fishing and my perspective on possible career opportunities. As a future Environmental Scientist, this type of field experience necessary for building a career upon graduating from PSU. Because the health of these fish populations is imperative for NH’s biodiversity and eco-tourism, studies like The Ammonoosuc Survey are crucial to the state of NH.”

-Z. Lebreux, PSU Student

Field Work

“We gathered samples from five positions on the river, and then returned to the banks and spent an hour identifying different organisms. This was a beneficial exercise in organism identification and proper scientific record keeping.”

– L.Morton, PSU Student

 “Through out the day I had the chance to learn and talk with multiple experts in this field that I aspire to work in. I got to see hands on how what I am learning in the class correlates to the real world. I learned while being in the river, knee deep in the river, everything I could from these people and got more out of it than a normal week in the class room. An experience like this is something I will hold on to for a while and always have for stories. It was an amazing experience.”

– B. Angelo, PSU Student

Special thanks to the Rachelle Lyons and the Center for Rural Partnerships.

Stories from our PSU Mentors:

I believe the most important thing I took away from this semester is to be more understanding and kind to others.  This semester has taught me that everyone is fighting their own battles and judging people doesn’t make those problems go away.  I feel as though this semester has taught me to be more patient with my students and to really listen to people.  I feel as humans we talk all day long to so many different people, but I feel that sometimes we aren’t truly listening to what a person is saying and that is an important skill to have as public servants such as teachers, social workers, and mentors.”

Colby Aubut, PSU Student

“The greatest lesson that I have learned all semester was that everything happens for a reason and to truly live your life.  It is so important to always take chances because someday you may  never have the same opportunity.”

-Abigail Kelly, PSU Student


Plymouth Service Learning Initiative
PSU Service Learning Task Force PDF

Campus Compact for New Hampshire

Community Research Experience


Contact Us

Center for Business and Community Partnerships

Ben Amsden
Director of the Center for Business and Community Partnerships
(603) 535-3276